South Australia's Budget backs Adelaide as 'innovation capital of the nation'

Upgrades to Lot Fourteen, where the Australian Space Agency is housed, as well as cybersecurity among the initiatives funded under the state's 2019-20 Budget.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The government of South Australia on Tuesday announced its 2019-20 state Budget, allocating official coin to a handful of new initiatives and those already announced, with the government looking to secure Adelaide as the "innovation capital of the nation".

The Budget included the funding allocated to the Adelaide City Deal that was announced earlier this year.

With AU$551 million over 10 years, the Adelaide City Deal -- a partnership between the state government, the federal government, and the City of Adelaide -- is hoping to deliver a suite of initiatives to create the skilled and productive jobs of the future, boost Adelaide's population through migration and planning reforms, and enhance cultural experiences by generating greater opportunities in the state's tourism sector.

Read more: Three levels of government to give Adelaide AU$551m 'innovation' boost

Under the deal, Lot Fourteen in the north-eastern corner of Adelaide's CBD will be converted into an innovation precinct.

Lot Fourteen will host the headquarters of the Australian Space Agency, its mission control facility, and the Australian Space Discovery Centre, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison previously noting it will also boast "major cultural attractions, high-tech businesses, and world-class education facilities".

More 2019 Budgets: Australian Capital TerritoryNew South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, Tasmania, VictoriaWestern Australia, Australia, and New Zealand 

Additional funding was on Tuesday provided for the Australian Space Agency.

"Lot Fourteen is being rapidly transformed into the innovation capital of the nation, with the Australian Space Agency, SmartSat CRC, Mission Control, and the Space Discovery Centre all to call Adelaide home," the Budget papers [PDF] said.

"These developments represent a total investment close to AU$300 million, positioning South Australia to help triple the size of Australia's space economy by 2030."

The Australian Space Agency was stood up in July 2018, with a AU$41 million, four-year investment made under the 2018-19 federal Budget.

It was announced in December that the space agency would call South Australia home, after states and territories around the country spent six months battling for boasting rights.

Under the guidance of former Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) boss Megan Clark, the agency has a mandate to triple the size of Australia's domestic space industry up to AU$12 billion by 2030, generating 20,000 new Australian jobs, and getting more kids to take up STEM-focused careers.

The Adelaide agency, however, is expected to employ only 20 full-time equivalent staff when it opens in mid-2019. 

According to CSIRO, Australia's space industry was estimated to have generated revenues of AU$3-4 billion in 2017, with a workforce of around 10,000.

Elsewhere in the Budget, with AU$4.3 million over four years, the SA government will be investing in a range of automated analytics and monitoring capabilities under the banner of cybersecurity.

The government said the funding will be used to better protect government information from cyber attacks and improve shared threat intelligence across agencies.

AU$4 million over four years has been allocated to establish a South Australian Landing Pad to attract early-stage international and interstate companies to the state, touting the initiative as one boasting transformational and high-growth potential in job creation across all priority industries.

See also: 134 startups aided through Australia's AU$12 million Landing Pad initiative

After announcing in December that the state had signed an AU$80 million contract with Telstra to connect government schools in South Australia to high-speed internet, the Budget papers detailed that over 20,000 students have already connected and that rollout is on-track to reach every government school student in the state by the middle of 2020.

"Fast internet is a critical component of learning in the modern world and to delivering a world-class education system in South Australia," the Budget papers say.

AU$16.5 million over three years has also been earmarked for the police communications centre upgrade, flagged by the government as a vital piece of infrastructure to ensure that it "meets modern building and security standards and continues to serve as the state's primary communication and emergency coordination centre".

Meanwhile, the state will be replacing the current Expiation Notice System, which records, issues, and administers expiation notices for road traffic offences, with AU$7.7 million over four years allocated to the project that will also see the replacement of hand written notices and notices issued by government agencies, with a more contemporary system.


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